The Enforcement Directorate is conducting searches at some places linked to asset manager Franklin Templeton and its former and current executives in Mumbai and Chennai as part of a money laundering investigation, officials said.
The federal agency is looking to gather more evidence as part of its investigation against the company and its promoters under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.
In November 2020, capital markets regulator SEBI issued a show-cause notice to the company following its April 2020 decision to wind up six debt schemes having Rs 25,000 crore of assets under management (AUM) from 3 lakh investors, citing liquidity challenges because of the pandemic.
Eventually, the company was asked to pay Rs 5 crore as penalty, return over Rs 450 crore collected as 22-month investment management and advisory fees, and was banned from launching new debt schemes for alleged irregularities in running the six debt schemes.
The Chennai police economic offences wing (EOW) subsequently registered an FIR to probe these alleged irregularities. The Enforcement Directorate case of money laundering stems from this complaint.
In 2021, SEBI restricted the heads of the asset manager – Vivek Kudva and Roopa Kudva – from accessing the securities market and from buying, selling or otherwise dealing in securities, directly or indirectly, or being associated with the securities market in any manner, whatsoever, for a period of one year.
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